The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

John Hayes Hollow - Treasured Moments With Mama

By George C. Parker © 1986

Issue: February, 1986

I remember Mama and some of the most treasured moments of life in the John Hayes Hollow. I was the youngest of six children, so it was no guess that our mama was one busy lady, looking after us and still finding time to give our dad some attention now and then.

Mama would always find, some time to spend now and then with each of us, so when my turn came, it was a "treasured moment." Sometimes it would be when Dad and the older children were out working in the fields. Mama and I would be left behind to look after the family laundry and cooking.

Mama would talk to me at those times and say, "Son, what do you want to be when you grow up? Know what I always wanted to be? I wanted to be a mother of six beautiful children and I wanted to see the beautiful parts of our world, to climb high into a tree and look at the whole world."

Mama would sing me songs that she had been taught as a little girl, then she would laugh and say, "I remember when I was about your size and we were all at home...." Then she would go on with some story of her childhood.

Sometimes Mama and I would go visiting together, just she and I, to one of the neighbors who lived at the top of the mountain above us. It was such fun to be alone with Mama. I would run ahead of her and hide behind a tree until she would be upon me, then I would jump out and say boo! We would laugh and I would run on up the path, stopping to pick some wild flowers, asking Mama their names - Lady slipper, Johnnie jump up, Wild clover, etc. By the time we got to the neighbors house, my cheeks would be red from the run, my eyes aglow from the excitement and my smile a little wider from just being with Mama. The neighbors would always say, "My, my, Cora. That's your baby, isn't it? He's sure a pretty boy. Look at those rosy cheeks." I would blush, but enjoy every word.

Sometimes we would go to Grandma's house, just Mama and me. That was like Peter Pan going to Fantasy Land. Grandma didn't live alone, there was Granddaddy, who was always working at something, but my attention came from two aunts who lived with Grandma. They were hard working, good looking ladies who could spoil all the grandchildren that came by. I often wondered why they never got married, but I figured it out. The Good Lord knew Grandma needed some help to cook and look after all the grandchildren. So He left them there to do just that. We got special care at Grandma's house even after Grandma's death. (By the way, those two special ladies are still around spoiling the grandchildren or maybe the grandchildren are spoiling them now.)

The most treasured moment with Mama was when she would sit down in our old family rocking chair, cross her legs and move over to one side of the chair, leaving a small spot for me to sit. She would pat that spot and motion for me to come to sit. Mama would put her arm around me and pull me close to her and often times she would reach over on the little table and pick up one of the school books and read to me - "Hey-diddle-diddle", "Little Miss Muffet", Goldy Locks and the Three Bears."

I would snuggle up to her warm embrace and if it was anywhere close to bed time, I would go to sleep so Daddy could carry me to bed.

Those were treasured moments, just to get their attention. They never knew I was playing "possum." Who could sleep and miss enjoying all the T.L.C. (tender loving care) from this Mama and Dad?